1 Samuel 15:35
And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.
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(35) Came no more to see Saul . . .—Once more the old friends met together in life (see 1Samuel 19:24), but the interview on this occasion was not of Samuel’s seeking; nor does it appear then that any communication passed between them. When next the seer and the king spoke together, the seer belonged to another and a different world. “After this, Samuel came no more to him, bearing messages and commands, and giving him counsel and guidance from God. Saul’s kingship, though still one de facto, yet from this time lost its theocratic relation. God’s ambassador was recalled from him; the intercourse of the God of Israel with Saul through His Spirit came to an end, because Saul, sinking step by step away from God, had, by continued disobedience and increasing impenitence, given up communion with God.”—Lange.

Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul.—The old seer, who had known Saul from the days of his splendid youthful promise, had indeed good reason to mourn. He, no doubt, loved him much, and regarded him as his own adopted child. On Saul he had built up all his hopes for the future of the Israel he loved so well. There was besides so much that was great and noble in the character of that first Hebrew king: he was the bravest of the brave, a tried and skilful general, possessed too of many of those high gifts which belong to men like Saul and David, and which enable them to be the saviours and regenerators of their country. This first great king only lacked one thing: true faith in that God who loved Israel with a peculiar love. Saul through his chequered career never really leaned on the Arm of the Mighty One of Jacob. No doubt, too, Samuel already perceived in the brilliant but headstrong king the first beginning of that terrible malady which over-shadowed the meridian and clouded the latter years of Saul—signs of that dread visitant, insanity, were, no doubt, visible to Samuel when the old man began to mourn for Saul.

1 Samuel 15:35. Samuel came no more to see Saul — That is, to visit him, in token of respect or friendship; or, to seek counsel from God for him. Otherwise he did see him afterward, 1 Samuel 19:24. Though indeed it was not Samuel that came thither with a design to see Saul, but Saul went thither to see Samuel, and that accidentally. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul — For his impenitence and rejection. He still had so much love to him, or to his country, as to lament the sad condition into which he was fallen. 15:32-35 Many think the bitterness of death is past when it is not gone by; they put that evil day far from them, which is very near. Samuel calls Agag to account for his own sins. He followed the example of his ancestors' cruelty, justly therefore is all the righteous blood shed by Amalek required. Saul seems unconcerned at the token of God's displeasure which he lay under, yet Samuel mourns day and night for him. Jerusalem was carnally secure while Christ wept over it. Do we desire to do the whole will of God? Turn to him, not in form and appearance, but with sincerity.Samuel came no more ... - In the sense of visiting or conversing on public affairs. 33. Samuel hewed Agag—This cruel tyrant met the retribution of a righteous Providence. Never has it been unusual for great or official personages in the East to perform executions with their own hands. Samuel did it "before the Lord" in Gilgal, appointing that same mode of punishment (hitherto unknown in Israel) to be used towards him, which he had formerly used towards others. To see Saul, i.e. to visit him, either in token of respect or friendship; or to seek counsel from God for him, or to give counsel to him. Seeing is put for visiting here, and 2 Kings 8:29. Otherwise he did see him afterwards, 1 Samuel 19:24. Though indeed it was not Samuel that came thither with design to see Saul, which is implied in the phrase here; but Saul went thither to see Samuel, and that accidentally.

Samuel mourned for Saul; partly for Saul’s sake, whose sad condition he lamented; and partly for Israel’s sake, whose estate he feared might by this means be doubtful and dangerous. And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death,.... Or "added not to see him" (x); not that he saw him no more, he saw him afterwards, 1 Samuel 19:24, but it was accidentally, he did not go to see him, but Saul came to him; and Abarbinel supposes he might not see him then, but hid his face from him; and he observes that it is said:

until the day of his death; which intimates, he thinks, that he saw him after his death, when raised up by the witch of Endor; but that Samuel was then really raised, and was seen, wants proof. The meaning of the expression here is no more than this, that Samuel afterwards did not visit Saul as he used to do; he did not go to him, to give him his advice and counsel, as he wonted:

nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul; because of his sin, his impenitence, and hypocrisy; and because of the loss of the kingdom to him, and to his posterity; and he might be concerned also about his eternal welfare; for he appears to have a natural affection for him, and was far from envying him as his rival, and rejoicing at his fall:

and the Lord repented that he made Saul king over Israel; nor was his mind altered, neither by the hypocritical confession of Saul, nor by the cordial prayers and heart of Samuel; see 1 Samuel 15:11.

(x) "et non addidit ad videndum", Montanus.

And Samuel came no more to {p} see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD {q} repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

(p) Though Saul came where Samuel was, 1Sa 19:22.

(q) As in 1Sa 15:11.

Verse 35. - Samuel came no more to see Saul. The friendly intercourse which had previously existed was now broken off, and though they met again (1 Samuel 19:24), it was neither in an amicable manner, nor was their interview of Samuel's seeking. But the words have a higher meaning than the mere seeing or meeting one with the other. They involve the cessation of that relation in which Samuel and Saul had previously stood to one another as respectively the prophet and king of the same Jehovah Saul was no longer the representative of Jehovah, and consequently Samuel no more came to him, bearing messages and commands, and giving him counsel and guidance from God. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul. There was so much in him that was good and admirable, and he had wrought such brave services in delivering Israel from its many enemies, that Samuel loved him. Now he saw all his high qualities perverted, the man fallen, his powers of usefulness destroyed. Already, too, there was probably the beginning of that darkening of Saul's intellect which filled so many of his future years with melancholy, bursting out from time to time into fits of madness. All this would end in the expulsion of himself and his dynasty from the throne, for Jehovah repented that he had made Saul king over Israel. See on ver. 11

This request Samuel refused, repeating at the same time the sentence of rejection, and turned to depart. "Then Saul laid hold of the lappet of his mantle (i.e., his upper garment), and it tore" (lit. was torn off). That the Niphal ויּקּרע is correct, and is not to be altered into אתהּ ויּקרע, "Saul tore off the lappet," according to the rendering of the lxx, as Thenius supposes, is evident from the explanation which Samuel gave of the occurrence (1 Samuel 15:28): "Jehovah hath torn the sovereignty of Israel from thee to-day, and given it to thy neighbour, who is better than thou." As Saul was about to hold back the prophet by force, that he might obtain from him a revocation of the divine sentence, the tearing of the mantle, which took place accidentally, and evidently without any such intention on the part of Saul, was to serve as a sign of the rending away of the sovereignty from him. Samuel did not yet know to whom Jehovah would give it; he therefore used the expression לרעך, as רע is applied to any one with whom a person associates. To confirm his own words, he adds in 1 Samuel 15:29 : "And also the Trust of Israel doth not lie and doth not repent, for He is not a man to repent." נצח signifies constancy, endurance, then confidence, trust, because a man can trust in what is constant. This meaning is to be retained here, where the word is used as a name for God, and not the meaning gloria, which is taken in 1 Chronicles 29:11 from the Aramaean usage of speech, and would be altogether unsuitable here, where the context suggests the idea of unchangeableness. For a man's repentance or regret arises from his changeableness, from the fluctuations in his desires and actions. This is never the case with God; consequently He is ישׂראל נצח, the unchangeable One, in whom Israel can trust, since He does not lie or deceive, or repent of His purposes. These words are spoken θεοπρεπῶς (theomorphically), whereas in 1 Samuel 15:11 and other passages, which speak of God as repenting, the words are to be understood ἀνθρωποπαθῶς (anthropomorphically; cf. Numbers 23:19).
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